Introduction to Bitcoin Mining - Michael Ian Shamos

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Vitalik dropped a bombshell on us when said that "high fees make Ethereum less secure". I explored what that means, why it's true, and what it means for the future of blockchains

The source of this is: https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/1285593115672358912
And in particular, he links to: https://www.cs.princeton.edu/~arvindn/publications/mining_CCS.pdf
I am: an Ethereum entrepreneur working full time on https://flowerpatch.app, an indie game
When I first read that tweet, I was really surprised. We've been thinking since the start of Bitcoin that fees would gradually become the long-term thing that sustains miners. We were told that paying miners = security for the network
Overview:
The btc whitepaper explained that the block rewards would go down, slowly over time. Ethereum is modeled on this concept too, though has no fixed cap. Then: big blocks are good, because big blocks = more fees. However, looking back at this idea now, we see that there was a fair bit of hand-waving in this transition, and a new scalability problem becomes clear:
  • Up until recently, blocks have basically always had the same value per block. It turns out that this was a very important game theory assumption!
  • As fees begin to dominate the miners' revenue, we enter into a world where some blocks are very valuable, and some blocks not so much
  • An additional problem, especially in Bitcoin, is the "exponential time variance" in block mining. Sometimes, there's just no blocks for an hour
  • Miners always have the option to "fork" a blockchain. As we start to have high variance in the value of blocks, it becomes much more logical to try to fork valuable blocks instead of building on top of them. The paper states this as: "it becomes attractive to fork a “wealthy” block to “steal” the rewards therein". You can incentivize other miners to "join in" on your theft-fork by not taking all of fee revenue (i.e. not including all the transactions), leaving some for others that wish to follow you into the dark world. The paper provides an illustration: https://i.imgur.com/I2K9QDd.jpg
  • The paper also outlines several other "bad actor" strategies that miners can use. Increasingly, as blocks become irregular, and more "evil" strategies start to creep in, this actually opens the door to further bad actors, and collusion
  • One key quote from the paper: "Without a block reward, immediately after a block is found there is zero expected reward for mining but nonzero electricity cost, making it unprofitable for any miner to mine." — this leads to another class of game theory issues, where miners have no reason to start mining until transactions start to pile up, but still have to pay electricity fees. The world has changed since the btc whitepaper: various schemes for mining multiple currencies at once, or quickly switching to alternate networks, become available. Miners may choose to switch off their equipment, or switch networks for a while, instead of waiting for transactions to pile up. They call this phenomenon "mining gaps"
Their conclusion:
Impact on Bitcoin security. If any of the deviant mining strategies we explore were to be deployed, the impact on Bitcoin’s security would be serious. At best, the block chain will have a significant fraction of stale or orphaned blocks due to constant forks, making 51% attacks much easier and increasing the transaction confirmation time. At worst, consensus will break down due to block withholding or increasingly aggressive undercutting.
How this affects Ethereum:
  • Ethereum has, like Bitcoin, been slowly reducing its block rewards
  • Today, as Vitalik said, we had fees make up 40-50% of the block rewards
  • This actually introduces a new scalability issue — if we increase the blocksize by 4, even if the network could handle that, we could have a situation where fees make up 200% of the block reward (50% x 4). This would start to seriously undercut Ethereum's security, as the tweet alluded
  • This issue is not purely hypothetical, but could really happen, if fees hit a sustained 100-300Gwei — on today's eth1 network! Even without extra blockspace! We could start seeing these mining strategies appearing soon
How we fix this:
  • As Vitalik mentioned, EIP-1559 does largely solve this issue. That's all the reason we need to include this EIP. Burning fees is the key to fixing the game theory. But if nothing else, you can achieve a 0% inflation rate while still issuing block rewards, as long as enough eth is burned
  • ETH2 is not susceptible to these issues, because mining rewards are shared, rather than adversarial. The years of game theory research were worth it
What happens with Bitcoin:
Well, this probably won't be an issue for quite a while, because BTC's rewards will only slowly dwindle over the next 100 years. However, they have a strict policy around this. BTC was always meant to have a totally fixed cap, and that's a big part of their "digital gold" narrative. What happens if the price of BTC tanks while the network is at capacity and has high fee revenue? They could start seeing issues pretty soon, especially with the abundance of other coins using the same mining hardware. There's already a fair bit of miners that jump between BTC/BCH/BSV based on profitability, so the "mining gaps" we discussed earlier could become more prevalent
submitted by hugelung to ethereum [link] [comments]

Recap on CoinEx & Avalanche AMA Aug 5, 2020

Recap on CoinEx & Avalanche AMA Aug 5, 2020
Written by SatoshisAngels
Published by read.cash
On August 5th 2020, Satoshi’s Angels hosted an AMA for CoinEx on “How BCH and Avalanche Are Bringing Financial Freedom to 6 Billion People” on a Chinese platform Bihu. During the 100-minute event, Haipo Yang of ViaBTC and CoinEx, and Emin Gun Sirer of AVA Labs shared their in-depth views on such topics as different consensus mechanisms, community governance, IPFS, Defi. And Haipo explained why he wants to fork BCH. This is the full text.
You can check out the full AMA here (mostly in Chinese with some English translation).

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Cindy Wang (Satoshi’s Angels): There are news saying that you are to fork BCH. Is it a marketing makeover? Are you serious about it?
Haipo Yang: It’s definitely not a marketing makeover. But the details are not decided yet.
Over the past three years, the BCH community has gone through multiple discussions from reducing block time, changing mining algorithms, adding smart contracts, etc. But none of these disputes have been well settled.
BCH is a big failure in terms of governance. A lack of good governance has made it fall in disorder. It is too decentralized to make progress.
You may know that the first BCH block was mined by ViaBTC. And we gave a lot of support to it indeed. But we didn’t dominate the fork. The Chinese community in particular thought I had a lot of influence, but it was not true.
I think the whole community is very dissatisfied with Bitcoin ABC, but it is difficult to replace them or change the status quo. So I am thinking of creating a new branch of BCH. The idea is still in early stage. I welcome anyone interested to participate and discuss it with me.
Wang: Professor Emin, what’s your attitude to fork? Do you think it’s a good timing to fork BCH?
Emin Gun Sirer: I am a big fan of BCH. It adheres to the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto. I like the technical roadmap of BCH. But just like what Haipo mentioned, BCH lacks a good governance mechanism. There are always something that can cause BCH community to divide itself.
But I think it’s not enough to just have a good governance mechanism. There are many good proposals in the community but failed to be adopted in the end. I think BCH needs social leadership to encourage discussion when there are new proposals.
Wang: We are all curious to know How Avalanche got its name?
I know that Avalanche doesn’t mean well in Chinese. But in English, it’s a very powerful word. Avalanche represents a series of algorithms piling together like a mountain. When decisions slowly form, the ball (nodes in the network) on top of the mountain starts going down the hill on one side, and it gets bigger and bigger, and like an avalanche and it becomes unstoppable, making the transaction final.
Wang: Prof. Emin, I know that you are a big blocker. Have you ever considered implementing Avalanche based on BCH? Why create another chain?
Sirer: Of course I considered that. Satoshi Nakamoto consensus is wonderful, but the proof-of-work mechanism and Nakamoto consensus base protocols have some shortcomings, such as network latency, and it is hard to scale. Avalanche, instead, is totally different, and is the new biggest breakthrough in the past 45 years. It is flexible, fast, and scalable. I’d love to implement BCH on top of avalanche in the future, to make BCH even better by making 0-conf transactions much more secure.
Wang: As an old miner, why did CoinEx Chain choose to “abandon” POW, and turn to POS mechanism?
Haipo: Both POW and POS consensus algorithms have their own advantages. POW is not just a consensus algorithm, but also a more transparent and open distribution method of digital currency. Anyone can participate in it through mining.
POW is fairer. For a POS-based network, participants must have coins. For example, you need to invest ICO projects to obtain coins. But developers can get a lot of coins almost for free. In addition, POW is more open. Anyone can participate without holding tokens. For example, as long as you have a computer and mining rigs, you can participate in mining. Openness and fairness are two great features of POW. POS is more advanced, safe and efficient.
POS is jointly maintained by the token holders, and there is no problem of 51% attacks. Those who hold tokens are more inclined to protect the network than to destroy the network for their own interests. To disrupt the network, you need to buy at least two-thirds of the token, which is very difficult to achieve. And when you actually hold so many coins, it’s barely possible for you to destroy the network.
POW has the problem of 51% attack. For example, ETC just suffered the 51% attack on August 3. And the cost to do that is very low. It can be reorganized with only tens of thousands of dollars. This is also a defect of POW.
In addition, in terms of TPS and block speed, POS can achieve second-level speed and higher TPS. Therefore, CoinEx Chain chose POS because it can bring a faster transaction experience. This is very important for decentralized exchanges. Both POW and POS have their own advantages. It’s a matter of personal choice. When choosing a consensus mechanism, the choice must be made according to the characteristics of the specific project.
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Wang: Ethereum is switching to ETH 2.0. If they succeed, do you think it will lead the next bull market?
Sirer: If Ethereum 2.0 can be realized, it must be a huge success.
But I doubt it can be launched anytime soon considering that it has been constantly delayed. And even if it comes out, I am not so sure if it will address the core scaling problem. And the main technology in Ethereum 2.0 is sharding. Sharding technology divides the Ethereum networks into small parallel groups, but I think what will happen is everyone wants to be in the same “shard” so the sharding advantages might not be realizable in Ethereum 2.0.
Avalanche supports Ethereum’s virtual machine, and Avalanche can realize 1 second level confirmation, while with sharding finalizing confirmation takes 5–6 seconds at best. Avalanche approach to make Ethereum scale is superior to Ethereum 2.0. There are many big players behind Ethereum 2.0, and I wish them success. But I believe that Avalanche will be the fastest and best Smart Contract platform in the crypto space, and it is compatible with Ethereum.
Wang: Why is Avalanche a real breakthrough?
Sirer: Avalanche is fundamentally different from previous consensus mechanisms. It’s very fast with TPS surpasses 6500, which is three times that of VISA. Six confirmations can be achieved in one second. Compared with the POW mechanism of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, Avalanche’s participation threshold is very low. It allows multiple virtual machines to be built on the Avalanche protocol.
Avalanche is not created to compete with Bitcoin or fiat currencies such as the US dollar and RMB. It’s not made to compete with Ethereum, which is defined as the “world’s computer”. Avalanche is positioned to be an asset issuance platform to tokenize assets in the real world.
Wang: How do you rank the importance of community, development, governance, and technology to a public chain?
Sirer: These four are like the legs of a table. Every foot is very important. The table cannot stand without strong support.
A good community needs to be open to welcome developers and people. Good governance is especially important, to figure out what users need and respect their voices. Development needs to be decentralized. Avalanche has developers all over the world. And it has big companies building on top of Avalanche.
Yang: From a long-term perspective, I think governance is the most important thing, which is the same as running a company.
In the long run, technology is not important. Blockchain technology is developed based on an open source softwares that are free to the community. Community is also not the most important factor.
I think the most important thing is governance. Decentralization is more about technical. For example, Bitcoin, through a decentralized network method, ensures the openness and transparency of data assets, and the data on the chain cannot be tampered with, ensuring that the total amount of coins has a fixed upper limit.
But at the governance level, all coins are centralized at some degree. For example, BCH developers can decide to modify the protocol. In a sense, it is the same as managing a company.
Historically, the reasons for the success and failure of companies all stem from bad governance. For example, Apple succeeded based on Steve Jobs’s charisma, leadership and the pursuit of user experience. When Jobs was kicked out, Apple suffered great losses. After Jobs returned, he made Apple great again.
Issues behind Bitmain is also about governance. Simply put, governance requires leaders who have a longer-term vision and are more capable of coordinating and balancing the resources and interests of all parties to lead the community.
In the blockchain world, many people focus on technology. In fact, technology is not enough to make great products. User experience is most important. Users don’t care about the blockchain technology itself, but more concerned about whether it is easy to use and whether it can solve my problem.
We need to figure out how to deliver a product like Apple. The pursuit of user experience is also governance in nature. And governance itself lies in the soul of key leaders in the community.
Realize tokenization of assets in.
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Wang: Speaking of asset tokenization, I would like to ask Haipo, do you think the market for assets on the chain is big?
Yang: It must be very big. We need to see which assets can be tokenized.
Assets that can be tokenized are standardized assets, sush as currencies and securities.
  1. In terms of currency, Tether has issued over 10 billion U.S. dollars. Many people think that’s too much. But I think this market is underestimated. The market for stablecoins in the future must be hundreds of billions or even trillions, especially after the release of Facebook’s Libra. Even US dollar might be issued based on the blockchain in the future.
At present, the settlement of USD currency is through the SWIFT system. But the SWIFT system itself is only a clearing network, a messaging system, not a settlement network. It takes a long time for clearing and settlement, and it is not reliable. But both USDT and USDC can quickly realize cross-border transfers in seconds and realize asset delivery. Even sovereign currencies are likely to be issued on the blockchain. I believe RMB also has such a plan.
  1. Equity and securities markets are the largest market. But they have strict requirements for market access.
Whether a stock is listed on A-shares or in the American markets, it’s hard to obtain them. I believe that the blockchain can completely release the demand through decentralization. It can allow any tiny company or even a project to issue, circulate and finance a token.
There may be only tens of thousands of stocks currently traded globally. There are also tens of thousands of tokens in the crypto space. I believe that millions or more of assets will be traded and circulated in the future. This can only be realized through decentralized technology and organization.
The market for assets tokenization will be huge. And at present, the entire blockchain technology is still very primitive. Bitcoin and Ethereum only have a few or a dozen TPS, which is far from meeting market demand. This is why CoinEx is committed to building a decentralized Dex public chain.
Wang: Avalanche’s paper was first published on IPFS. What do you think of IPFS?
Sirer: I personally like IPFS very much. It is a decentralized storage solution.
Yang: There is no doubt that IPFS solves the problem of decentralized storage, and can be robust in the blockchain world, and can replace HPPT services. But there are still three problems:
  1. IPFS is not for ordinary users. Everybody needs BCH and BTC, but only developers need IPFS, which is a relatively niche market;
  2. IPFS is more expensive than traditional storage solutions, which further reduces its practicality. In order to achieve decentralization, more copies must be stored, and more hardware devices must be consumed. In the end, these costs will be on to users.
  3. There may be compliance issues. If you use IPFS to store sensitive information, such as info from WikiLeaks, it may end up threatening national security. I doubt that decentralized storage and decentralized public chains can survive under the joint pressure of global governments.
The IPFS project solves certain problems. But from the perspective of application prospects, I am pessimistic.
Wang: What do you think of Defi?
Yang: I want to talk about the concept first.
Broadly speaking, the entire blockchain industry is DeFi in nature. Blockchain is to realize the circulation of currency, equity, and asset value through decentralization.
So in a broad sense, blockchain itself is DeFi. In a narrow sense, DeFi is a financial agreement based on smart contracts. DeFi, through smart contracts, can build applications more flexibly. For example, before we could only use Bitcoin to transfer and pay. Now with smart contracts, flexible functions such as lending, exchange, mortgage , etc. are available. The entire blockchain industry is gradually evolving under the conditions of DeFi. DeFi will definitely get greater development in the future.
Sirer: I think Defi will definitely have a huge impact. DeFi is not only an innovation in the cryptocurrency field, but also an innovation in the financial field. Wall Street companies have stagnated for years with no innovation. Avalanche fits different DeFi needs, including performance and compliance. In the future, not only will Wall Street simply adopt DeFi, but DeFi will grow into a huge market that will eventually replace the traditional financial system.
Questions from the community:
1. How does Avalanche integrate with DeFi?
Sirer: At present, all DeFi applications on Avalanche have surpassed Ethereum. What can be achieved on Ethereum can be achieved on Avalanche with better user experience. We are currently connecting with popular DeFi projects such as Compound and MakerDao to add part of or all of their functions.
At present, Avalanche is working on decentralized exchange (DEX). The current DEXs are limited by speed and performance but when they are built on top of Avalanche it will be real-time and very fast.
2. How many developers does BCH have?
Yang: I think it does not matter how many developers there are. What matters is what should be developed. I watched Jobs’ video the other day, and it inspired me a lot. We are not piecing together technology to see what technology can do. It’s we figure out what we want first and then we use the technology we need.
The entire blockchain community worship developers. Such as they call Vitalik “V God”. It’s not necessary to treat developers as wizards. Developers are programmers, and I myself is also a programmer.
ViaBTC has a development team of over 100 people, including core members from Copernicus (a dev team formerly belonged to Bitmain). Technically we are very confident to build faster, stabler, and better user experience products.
submitted by CoinExcom to btc [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Want to know why NEM should be as popular as Ethereum? this will be bigger than any altcoins you see, here's why

Want to know why NEM should be as popular as Ethereum? this will be bigger than any altcoins you see, here's why

Altcoin Explorer: NEM (XEM), the Enterprise-Grade Blockchain Platform


https://preview.redd.it/5ogfihikwkg51.png?width=1300&format=png&auto=webp&s=099780e02777d16d4e2add64b249c46da1cd488b
Nestled among the top 40 cryptocurrencies by reported market cap, New Economy Movement — popularly known as NEM (XEM) – is a peer-to-peer (P2P), dual-layer blockchain smart contract platform written in one of the most influential programming languages, Java. NEM uses the proof-of-importance (POI) consensus algorithm that essentially values the tokens held and the activity conducted by the nodes on the blockchain network.
In this Altcoin Explorer, BTCManager delves deeper into the finer intricacies of the NEM blockchain protocol, including the project’s POI consensus algorithm, its native digital token XEM, and some of its real-world use-cases.
Without further ado, let’s get to the core of this high-performance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform.

History of NEM

NEM was launched on March 31, 2015, with an aim to develop an enterprise-grade blockchain protocol that could circumvent the infamous trilemma of blockchain: scalability, speed, and privacy.
Operated by a Gibraltar-registered NEM Group, NEM is a fork-out version of the NXT blockchain. After the successful fork, the NEM community decided to build its ecosystem from the ground up and developed its own codebase to make the network more scalable and faster.
NEM’s insistence toward building its own tech infrastructure led to a DLT protocol that is unlike anything resembling other similar platforms.
Today, NEM ranks among the top go-to blockchain platforms for enterprises across the world, rivaling competing protocols including Ethereum (ETH), and TRON (TRX), among others.

NEM’s Proof-of-Importance (POI) Algorithm

Unlike Bitcoin’s (BTC) energy-intensive Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Ethereum’s yet-to-be-implemented Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, NEM uses PoI consensus mechanism.
The PoI mechanism achieves consensus by incentivizing active user participation in the NEM network. This consensus infrastructure ensures an agile decentralized network by rewarding well-behaved nodes that not only possess a significant stake in the network but are also actively engaged in executing transactions to maintain the network’s robustness.
Specifically, each node in the network possesses an ‘Importance Score’ that impacts the number of times the said node can ‘Harvest’ the XEM altcoin.
Initially, when a user puts XEM tokens into their wallet, they are called ‘unvested coins.’ Over time, as the wallets start accumulating an increasing number of XEM and contribute to the network’s transaction volume, they start collecting importance scores. At the same time, the XEM tokens in these wallets change into ‘vested coins,’ provided that there are at least 10000 tokens in the wallet.
To put things into perspective, let’s take the help of a small example.
On day 1, Joe receives 50,000 XEM in his digital wallet. Now, with each passing day, the NEM network will ‘vest’ 10 percent of the tokens held by Joe. So, on day 2, 5,000 tokens held by Joe are vested into the network. On day 3, 10 percent of the remaining tokens – 15,000 XEM – get vested into the network, leaving Joe with 13,500 XEM, and so one. After a couple of days, Joe sees that the number of XEM vested by him has crossed the 10,000 coins threshold, thereby, making him eligible to seek rewards from the NEM blockchain for his contribution to vesting his tokens.
Close followers of blockchain projects would find the aforementioned network reward mechanism bear a close resemblance to the PoS consensus algorithm. However, it’s worthy of note that vesting coins is just one way of calculating a node’s importance score.
The NEM protocol also rewards nodes that are responsible for most activity on the network. In essence, this means that the higher the number of transactions executed by a node, the more likely it is to gain higher importance points. The balance between vesting XEM and network activity is an important metric to be maintained by NEM nodes as it directly impacts their likelihood of harvesting XEM.
NEM’s consensus algorithm does away with several issues plaguing the more energy-intensive protocols such as PoW. For instance, PoI does not necessarily require high-energy hardware to run the nodes. The decentralized nature of the algorithm means that almost any machine — irrespective of its tech configuration – can participate in the NEM ecosystem ensuring it remains decentralized.

NEM’s Native Digital Token — XEM

XEM, unlike the vast majority of other cryptocurrencies, isn’t mined or staked using Pow or PoS algorithms. Rather, as explained earlier, XEM is ‘harvested’ through the PoI algorithm which ensures a steady supply of the digital token without flooding the market and involving the risk of a dramatic crash in price.
Per data on CoinMarketCap, at the time of writing, XEM trades at $0.04 with a market cap of more than $382 million and a 24-hour trading volume of approximately $6.8 million. The coin reached its all-time high of $1.92 in January 2018.
A large number of reputable cryptocurrency exchanges trade XEM, including Binance, Upbit, OKEx, Bithumb, ProBit, among others. The digital token can be easily traded with BTC, ETH, and USDT trading pairs.
That said, if you wish to vest your XEM to partake in the maintenance of the NEM network and earn rewards, it is recommended you store your tokens in the official NEM Nano wallet for desktop and mobile OS. Only XEM tokens held in the official NEM Nano wallet are eligible for vesting.

NEM Use-Cases

To date, NEM has been deployed for various real-world applications with promising results.
In 2018, Ukraine launched a blockchain-based e-voting trial leveraging the NEM DLT platform.
At the time, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission – with the local NEM Foundation representation – estimated the test vote trial in each polling station could cost as low as $1,227. The organization’s Oleksandr Stelmakh lauded the efforts, saying that using a blockchain-powered voting mechanism would make it impossible for anyone to fiddle with the records. The Commission added that the NEM protocol presents information in a more user-friendly format for voters.
In the same year, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education launched an e-scroll system based on the NEM blockchain to tackle the menace of fake degrees. The University Degree Issuance and Verification System use the NEM blockchain which is interrogated upon scanning of a QR code printed on the degree certificate.
The Ministry added that one of the primary reasons for its decision to selected the NEM platform was its unique and cutting-edge features in managing traceability and authentication requirements.
On a recent note, the Bank of Lithuania announced that it would be issuing its NEM blockchain-powered digital collector’s coin (LBCoin) in July after the successful completion of its testing phase.

Final Thoughts

Summing up, NEM offers a wide array of in-house features that separate it from other blockchain projects in a space that is becoming increasingly congested. NEM’s creative PoI consensus algorithm is a fresh take on the PoS algorithm for performance enhancement. Further, the project’s newly launched enterprise-grade DLT solution, Symbol, offers a tremendous option to businesses to help them cut costs, reduce complexities, and streamline innovation.
NEM uses the Java programming language that makes it an easy project for developers to get involved with, unlike other projects such as Ethereum that use platform-specific programming languages like Solidity. The project’s tech infrastructure not only makes it less power-intensive compared to Bitcoin but also more scalable than its rival projects including Ethereum and NEO.
NEM’s tagline, “Smart Asset Blockchain, Built for Performance,” perfectly captures everything the project has to offer. Over the years, NEM’s active developer community has craftily addressed the notorious bottlenecks in the vast majority of blockchain solutions, The future looks promising for NEM as it continues to foster a trustless and blockchain-driven economy for tomorrow.
Source
submitted by charlesgwynne to CryptocurrencyICO [link] [comments]

Antminer T19 May Not Affect Bitcoin Hash Rate but Keeps Bitmain Ahead

The Antminer T19 by Bitmain may not have a big impact on the Bitcoin network, and it comes out amid the firm’s internal and post-halving uncertainty.
Earlier this week, Chinese mining-hardware juggernaut Bitmain unveiled its new product, an application-specific integrated circuit called Antminer T19. The Bitcoin (BTC) mining unit is the latest to join the new generation of ASICs — state-of-the-art devices designed to mitigate increased mining difficulty by maximizing the terahashes-per-second output.
The Antminer T19 announcement comes amid the post-halving uncertainty and follows the company’s recent problems with its S17 units. So, can this new machine help Bitmain to reinforce its somewhat hobbled position in the mining sector?
T19: The cheaper S19
According to the official announcement, the Antminer T19 features a mining speed of 84 TH/s and a power efficiency of 37.5 joules per TH. The chips used in the new device are the same as those equipped in the Antminer S19 and S19 Pro, though it uses the new APW12 version of the power supply system that allows the device to start up faster.
Bitmain usually markets its Antminer T devices as the most cost-effective ones, while the S-series models are presented as the top of the line in terms of productivity for their respective generation, Johnson Xu — the head of research and analytics at Tokensight — explained to Cointelegraph. According to data from F2Pool, one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools, Antminer T19s can generate $3.97 of profit each day, while Antminer S19s and Antminer S19 Pros can earn $4.86 and $6.24, respectively, based on an average electricity cost of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour.
Antminer T19s, which consume 3,150 watts, are being sold for $1,749 per unit. Antminer S19 machines, on the other hand, cost $1,785 and consume 3,250 watts. Antminer S19 Pro devices, the most efficient of three, are considerably more expensive and go for $2,407. The reason Bitmain is producing another model for the 19 series is due to what is known as "binning" chips, Marc Fresa — the founder of mining firmware company Asic.to — explained to Cointelegraph:
“When chips are designed they are meant to achieve specific performance levels. Chips that fail to hit their target numbers, such as not achieving the power standards or their thermal output, are often ‘Binned.’ Instead of throwing these chips in the garbage bin, these chips are resold into another unit with a lower performance level. In the case of Bitmain S19 chips that don’t make the cutoff are then sold in the T19 for cheaper since they do not perform as well as the counterpart.” The rollout of a new model “has nothing to do with the fact that machines are not selling well,” Fresa went on to argue, citing the post-halving uncertainty: “The biggest reason machines probably are not selling as well as manufacturers would like is because we are on a bit of a tipping point; The halving just happened, the price can go anyway and the difficulty is continuing to drop.” Product diversification is a common strategy for mining hardware producers, given that customers tend to aim for different specifications, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, a consultant and the former chief technology officer of Genesis Mining, told Cointelegraph:
“ASICs don’t really allow for one model as consumers expect a certain performance level from a machine, and unfortunately silicon is not a perfect process — many times you’ll get a batch that performs better or worse than projected due to the nature of the materials. Thus, you end up with 5–10 different model numbers.” It is not yet clear how efficient the 19-series devices are because they have not shipped at scale, as Leo Zhang, the founder of Anicca Research, summed up in a conversation with Cointelegraph. The first batch of S19 units reportedly shipped out around May 12, while the T19 shipments will start between June 21 and June 30. It is also worth noting that, at this time, Bitmain only sells up to two T19 miners per user “to prevent hoarding.”
Hardware problems and competitors
The latest generation of Bitmain ASICs follows the release of the S17 units, which have received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews in the community. In early May, Arseniy Grusha, the co-founder of crypto consulting and mining firm Wattum, created a Telegram group for consumers unsatisfied with the S17 units they purchased from Bitmain. As Grusha explained to Cointelegraph at the time, out of the 420 Antminer S17+ devices his company bought, roughly 30%, or around 130 machines, turned out to be bad units.
Similarly, Samson Mow, the chief strategy officer of blockchain infrastructure firm Blockstream, tweeted earlier in April that Bitmain customers have a 20%–30% failure rate with Antminer S17 and T17 units. “The Antminer 17 series is generally considered not great,” added Zhang. He additionally noted that Chinese hardware company and competitor Micro BT has been stepping on Bitmain’s toes lately with the release of its highly productive M30 series, which prompted Bitmain to step up its efforts:
“Whatsminer gained significant market share in the past two years. According to their COO, in 2019 MicroBT sold ~35% of the network hashrate. Needless to say Bitmain is under a lot of pressure both from competitors and internal politics. They have been working on the 19 series for a while. The specs and price look very attractive.” Minehan confirmed that MicroBT has been gaining traction on the market, but refrained from saying that Bitmain is losing market share as a result: “I think MicroBT is offering option and bringing in new participants, and giving farms a choice. Most farms will have both Bitmain and MicroBT side by side, rather than exclusively host one manufacturer.”
“I would say that MicroBT has taken up the existing market share that Canaan has left,” she added, referring to another China-based mining player that recently reported a net loss of $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2020 and cut the price of its mining hardware by up to 50%.
Indeed, some large-scale operations seem to be diversifying their equipment with MicroBT units. Earlier this week, United States mining firm Marathon Patent Group announced that it had installed 700 Whatsminer M30S+ ASICs produced by MicroBT. However, it is also reportedly waiting for a delivery of 1,160 Antminer S19 Pro units produced by Bitmain, meaning that it also remains loyal to the current market leader.
Will the hash rate be affected?
Bitcoin’s hash rate plummeted 30% soon after the halving occurred as much of the older generation equipment became unprofitable due to the increased mining difficulty. That spurred miners to reshuffle, upgrading their current rigs and selling older machines to places where electricity is cheaper — meaning that some of them had to temporarily unplug.
The situation has stabilized since, with the hash rate fluctuating around 100 TH/s for the past few days. Some experts attribute that to the start of the wet season in Sichuan, a southwest Chinese province where miners take advantage of low hydroelectricity prices between May and October.
The arrival of the new generation of ASICs is expected to drive the hash rate even higher, at least once upgraded units become widely available. So, will the newly revealed T19 model make any impact on the state of the network?
Experts agree that it won’t affect the hash rate to a major degree, as it’s a lower output model compared with the S19 series and MicroBT’s M30 series. Minehan said she doesn’t expect the T19 model “to have a huge impact that’s an immediate cause of concern,” as “most likely this is a run of <3500 units of a particular bin quality.” Similarly, Mark D’Aria, the CEO of crypto consulting firm Bitpro, told Cointelegraph:
“There isn’t a strong reason to expect the new model to significantly affect the hashrate. It might be a slightly more compelling option to a miner with extraordinarily inexpensive electricity, but otherwise they likely would have just purchased an S19 instead.” Bitmain continues to hold leadership despite internal struggle
At the end of the day, manufacturers are always in an arms race, and mining machines are simply commodity products, Zhang argued in a conversation with Cointelegraph:
“Besides price, performance, and failure rate, there are not many factors that can help a manufacturer differentiate from the others. The relentless competition led to where we are today.” According to Zhang, as the iteration rate naturally slows down in the future, there will be more facilities using “creative thermal design such as immersion cooling,” hoping to maximize the mining efficiency beyond just using most powerful machines.
As for now, Bitmain remains the leader of the mining race, despite having to deal with the largely defunct 17 series and an intensifying power struggle between its two co-founders, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, which recently resulted in reports of a street brawl.
“Due to its recent internal issues, Bitmain is facing challenges to keep its strong position in the future thus they started to look at other things to expand its industry influences,” Xu told Cointelegraph. He added that Bitmain “will still dominate the industry position in the near future due to its network effect,” although its current problems might allow competitors such as MicroBT to catch up.
Earlier this week, the power struggle inside Bitmain intensified even further as Micree Zhan, an ousted executive of the mining titan, reportedly led a group of private guards to overtake the company’s office in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Bitmain continues to expand its operations. Last week, the mining company revealed it was extending its “Ant Training Academy” certification program to North America, with the first courses set to launch in the fall. As such, Bitmain seems to be doubling down on the U.S.-based mining sector, which has been growing recently. The Beijing-based company already operates what it classifies as “the world’s largest” mining facility in Rockdale, Texas, which has a planned capacity of 50 megawatts that can later be expanded to 300 megawatts.
submitted by melissaBrian0 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Want to know why NEM should be as popular as Ethereum? this will be bigger than any altcoins you see, here's why

Want to know why NEM should be as popular as Ethereum? this will be bigger than any altcoins you see, here's why

Altcoin Explorer: NEM (XEM), the Enterprise-Grade Blockchain Platform


https://preview.redd.it/manbawoqvkg51.png?width=1300&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcbae1f067261326f11641bb9b18cd6f57616966
Nestled among the top 40 cryptocurrencies by reported market cap, New Economy Movement — popularly known as NEM (XEM) – is a peer-to-peer (P2P), dual-layer blockchain smart contract platform written in one of the most influential programming languages, Java. NEM uses the proof-of-importance (POI) consensus algorithm that essentially values the tokens held and the activity conducted by the nodes on the blockchain network.
In this Altcoin Explorer, BTCManager delves deeper into the finer intricacies of the NEM blockchain protocol, including the project’s POI consensus algorithm, its native digital token XEM, and some of its real-world use-cases.
Without further ado, let’s get to the core of this high-performance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform.

History of NEM

NEM was launched on March 31, 2015, with an aim to develop an enterprise-grade blockchain protocol that could circumvent the infamous trilemma of blockchain: scalability, speed, and privacy.
Operated by a Gibraltar-registered NEM Group, NEM is a fork-out version of the NXT blockchain. After the successful fork, the NEM community decided to build its ecosystem from the ground up and developed its own codebase to make the network more scalable and faster.
NEM’s insistence toward building its own tech infrastructure led to a DLT protocol that is unlike anything resembling other similar platforms.
Today, NEM ranks among the top go-to blockchain platforms for enterprises across the world, rivaling competing protocols including Ethereum (ETH), and TRON (TRX), among others.

NEM’s Proof-of-Importance (POI) Algorithm

Unlike Bitcoin’s (BTC) energy-intensive Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Ethereum’s yet-to-be-implemented Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, NEM uses PoI consensus mechanism.
The PoI mechanism achieves consensus by incentivizing active user participation in the NEM network. This consensus infrastructure ensures an agile decentralized network by rewarding well-behaved nodes that not only possess a significant stake in the network but are also actively engaged in executing transactions to maintain the network’s robustness.
Specifically, each node in the network possesses an ‘Importance Score’ that impacts the number of times the said node can ‘Harvest’ the XEM altcoin.
Initially, when a user puts XEM tokens into their wallet, they are called ‘unvested coins.’ Over time, as the wallets start accumulating an increasing number of XEM and contribute to the network’s transaction volume, they start collecting importance scores. At the same time, the XEM tokens in these wallets change into ‘vested coins,’ provided that there are at least 10000 tokens in the wallet.
To put things into perspective, let’s take the help of a small example.
On day 1, Joe receives 50,000 XEM in his digital wallet. Now, with each passing day, the NEM network will ‘vest’ 10 percent of the tokens held by Joe. So, on day 2, 5,000 tokens held by Joe are vested into the network. On day 3, 10 percent of the remaining tokens – 15,000 XEM – get vested into the network, leaving Joe with 13,500 XEM, and so one. After a couple of days, Joe sees that the number of XEM vested by him has crossed the 10,000 coins threshold, thereby, making him eligible to seek rewards from the NEM blockchain for his contribution to vesting his tokens.
Close followers of blockchain projects would find the aforementioned network reward mechanism bear a close resemblance to the PoS consensus algorithm. However, it’s worthy of note that vesting coins is just one way of calculating a node’s importance score.
The NEM protocol also rewards nodes that are responsible for most activity on the network. In essence, this means that the higher the number of transactions executed by a node, the more likely it is to gain higher importance points. The balance between vesting XEM and network activity is an important metric to be maintained by NEM nodes as it directly impacts their likelihood of harvesting XEM.
NEM’s consensus algorithm does away with several issues plaguing the more energy-intensive protocols such as PoW. For instance, PoI does not necessarily require high-energy hardware to run the nodes. The decentralized nature of the algorithm means that almost any machine — irrespective of its tech configuration – can participate in the NEM ecosystem ensuring it remains decentralized.

NEM’s Native Digital Token — XEM

XEM, unlike the vast majority of other cryptocurrencies, isn’t mined or staked using Pow or PoS algorithms. Rather, as explained earlier, XEM is ‘harvested’ through the PoI algorithm which ensures a steady supply of the digital token without flooding the market and involving the risk of a dramatic crash in price.
Per data on CoinMarketCap, at the time of writing, XEM trades at $0.04 with a market cap of more than $382 million and a 24-hour trading volume of approximately $6.8 million. The coin reached its all-time high of $1.92 in January 2018.
A large number of reputable cryptocurrency exchanges trade XEM, including Binance, Upbit, OKEx, Bithumb, ProBit, among others. The digital token can be easily traded with BTC, ETH, and USDT trading pairs.
That said, if you wish to vest your XEM to partake in the maintenance of the NEM network and earn rewards, it is recommended you store your tokens in the official NEM Nano wallet for desktop and mobile OS. Only XEM tokens held in the official NEM Nano wallet are eligible for vesting.

NEM Use-Cases

To date, NEM has been deployed for various real-world applications with promising results.
In 2018, Ukraine launched a blockchain-based e-voting trial leveraging the NEM DLT platform.
At the time, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission – with the local NEM Foundation representation – estimated the test vote trial in each polling station could cost as low as $1,227. The organization’s Oleksandr Stelmakh lauded the efforts, saying that using a blockchain-powered voting mechanism would make it impossible for anyone to fiddle with the records. The Commission added that the NEM protocol presents information in a more user-friendly format for voters.
In the same year, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education launched an e-scroll system based on the NEM blockchain to tackle the menace of fake degrees. The University Degree Issuance and Verification System use the NEM blockchain which is interrogated upon scanning of a QR code printed on the degree certificate.
The Ministry added that one of the primary reasons for its decision to selected the NEM platform was its unique and cutting-edge features in managing traceability and authentication requirements.
On a recent note, the Bank of Lithuania announced that it would be issuing its NEM blockchain-powered digital collector’s coin (LBCoin) in July after the successful completion of its testing phase.

Final Thoughts

Summing up, NEM offers a wide array of in-house features that separate it from other blockchain projects in a space that is becoming increasingly congested. NEM’s creative PoI consensus algorithm is a fresh take on the PoS algorithm for performance enhancement. Further, the project’s newly launched enterprise-grade DLT solution, Symbol, offers a tremendous option to businesses to help them cut costs, reduce complexities, and streamline innovation.
NEM uses the Java programming language that makes it an easy project for developers to get involved with, unlike other projects such as Ethereum that use platform-specific programming languages like Solidity. The project’s tech infrastructure not only makes it less power-intensive compared to Bitcoin but also more scalable than its rival projects including Ethereum and NEO.
NEM’s tagline, “Smart Asset Blockchain, Built for Performance,” perfectly captures everything the project has to offer. Over the years, NEM’s active developer community has craftily addressed the notorious bottlenecks in the vast majority of blockchain solutions, The future looks promising for NEM as it continues to foster a trustless and blockchain-driven economy for tomorrow.
Source
submitted by charlesgwynne to ico [link] [comments]

Altcoin Explorer: NEM (XEM), the Enterprise-Grade Blockchain Platform

Altcoin Explorer: NEM (XEM), the Enterprise-Grade Blockchain Platform

https://preview.redd.it/f82bxncaxkg51.png?width=1300&format=png&auto=webp&s=34afde717d1781f7e472c8dcacd18a8b9390a78d
Nestled among the top 40 cryptocurrencies by reported market cap, New Economy Movement — popularly known as NEM (XEM) – is a peer-to-peer (P2P), dual-layer blockchain smart contract platform written in one of the most influential programming languages, Java. NEM uses the proof-of-importance (POI) consensus algorithm that essentially values the tokens held and the activity conducted by the nodes on the blockchain network.
In this Altcoin Explorer, BTCManager delves deeper into the finer intricacies of the NEM blockchain protocol, including the project’s POI consensus algorithm, its native digital token XEM, and some of its real-world use-cases.
Without further ado, let’s get to the core of this high-performance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform.

History of NEM

NEM was launched on March 31, 2015, with an aim to develop an enterprise-grade blockchain protocol that could circumvent the infamous trilemma of blockchain: scalability, speed, and privacy.
Operated by a Gibraltar-registered NEM Group, NEM is a fork-out version of the NXT blockchain. After the successful fork, the NEM community decided to build its ecosystem from the ground up and developed its own codebase to make the network more scalable and faster.
NEM’s insistence toward building its own tech infrastructure led to a DLT protocol that is unlike anything resembling other similar platforms.
Today, NEM ranks among the top go-to blockchain platforms for enterprises across the world, rivaling competing protocols including Ethereum (ETH), and TRON (TRX), among others.

NEM’s Proof-of-Importance (POI) Algorithm

Unlike Bitcoin’s (BTC) energy-intensive Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Ethereum’s yet-to-be-implemented Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, NEM uses PoI consensus mechanism.
The PoI mechanism achieves consensus by incentivizing active user participation in the NEM network. This consensus infrastructure ensures an agile decentralized network by rewarding well-behaved nodes that not only possess a significant stake in the network but are also actively engaged in executing transactions to maintain the network’s robustness.
Specifically, each node in the network possesses an ‘Importance Score’ that impacts the number of times the said node can ‘Harvest’ the XEM altcoin.
Initially, when a user puts XEM tokens into their wallet, they are called ‘unvested coins.’ Over time, as the wallets start accumulating an increasing number of XEM and contribute to the network’s transaction volume, they start collecting importance scores. At the same time, the XEM tokens in these wallets change into ‘vested coins,’ provided that there are at least 10000 tokens in the wallet.
To put things into perspective, let’s take the help of a small example.
On day 1, Joe receives 50,000 XEM in his digital wallet. Now, with each passing day, the NEM network will ‘vest’ 10 percent of the tokens held by Joe. So, on day 2, 5,000 tokens held by Joe are vested into the network. On day 3, 10 percent of the remaining tokens – 15,000 XEM – get vested into the network, leaving Joe with 13,500 XEM, and so one. After a couple of days, Joe sees that the number of XEM vested by him has crossed the 10,000 coins threshold, thereby, making him eligible to seek rewards from the NEM blockchain for his contribution to vesting his tokens.
Close followers of blockchain projects would find the aforementioned network reward mechanism bear a close resemblance to the PoS consensus algorithm. However, it’s worthy of note that vesting coins is just one way of calculating a node’s importance score.
The NEM protocol also rewards nodes that are responsible for most activity on the network. In essence, this means that the higher the number of transactions executed by a node, the more likely it is to gain higher importance points. The balance between vesting XEM and network activity is an important metric to be maintained by NEM nodes as it directly impacts their likelihood of harvesting XEM.
NEM’s consensus algorithm does away with several issues plaguing the more energy-intensive protocols such as PoW. For instance, PoI does not necessarily require high-energy hardware to run the nodes. The decentralized nature of the algorithm means that almost any machine — irrespective of its tech configuration – can participate in the NEM ecosystem ensuring it remains decentralized.

NEM’s Native Digital Token — XEM

XEM, unlike the vast majority of other cryptocurrencies, isn’t mined or staked using Pow or PoS algorithms. Rather, as explained earlier, XEM is ‘harvested’ through the PoI algorithm which ensures a steady supply of the digital token without flooding the market and involving the risk of a dramatic crash in price.
Per data on CoinMarketCap, at the time of writing, XEM trades at $0.04 with a market cap of more than $382 million and a 24-hour trading volume of approximately $6.8 million. The coin reached its all-time high of $1.92 in January 2018.
A large number of reputable cryptocurrency exchanges trade XEM, including Binance, Upbit, OKEx, Bithumb, ProBit, among others. The digital token can be easily traded with BTC, ETH, and USDT trading pairs.
That said, if you wish to vest your XEM to partake in the maintenance of the NEM network and earn rewards, it is recommended you store your tokens in the official NEM Nano wallet for desktop and mobile OS. Only XEM tokens held in the official NEM Nano wallet are eligible for vesting.

NEM Use-Cases

To date, NEM has been deployed for various real-world applications with promising results.
In 2018, Ukraine launched a blockchain-based e-voting trial leveraging the NEM DLT platform.
At the time, Ukraine’s Central Election Commission – with the local NEM Foundation representation – estimated the test vote trial in each polling station could cost as low as $1,227. The organization’s Oleksandr Stelmakh lauded the efforts, saying that using a blockchain-powered voting mechanism would make it impossible for anyone to fiddle with the records. The Commission added that the NEM protocol presents information in a more user-friendly format for voters.
In the same year, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education launched an e-scroll system based on the NEM blockchain to tackle the menace of fake degrees. The University Degree Issuance and Verification System use the NEM blockchain which is interrogated upon scanning of a QR code printed on the degree certificate.
The Ministry added that one of the primary reasons for its decision to selected the NEM platform was its unique and cutting-edge features in managing traceability and authentication requirements.
On a recent note, the Bank of Lithuania announced that it would be issuing its NEM blockchain-powered digital collector’s coin (LBCoin) in July after the successful completion of its testing phase.

Final Thoughts

Summing up, NEM offers a wide array of in-house features that separate it from other blockchain projects in a space that is becoming increasingly congested. NEM’s creative PoI consensus algorithm is a fresh take on the PoS algorithm for performance enhancement. Further, the project’s newly launched enterprise-grade DLT solution, Symbol, offers a tremendous option to businesses to help them cut costs, reduce complexities, and streamline innovation.
NEM uses the Java programming language that makes it an easy project for developers to get involved with, unlike other projects such as Ethereum that use platform-specific programming languages like Solidity. The project’s tech infrastructure not only makes it less power-intensive compared to Bitcoin but also more scalable than its rival projects including Ethereum and NEO.
NEM’s tagline, “Smart Asset Blockchain, Built for Performance,” perfectly captures everything the project has to offer. Over the years, NEM’s active developer community has craftily addressed the notorious bottlenecks in the vast majority of blockchain solutions, The future looks promising for NEM as it continues to foster a trustless and blockchain-driven economy for tomorrow.
Source
submitted by charlesgwynne to BlockchainStartups [link] [comments]

Lessons learned - Crypto and Divorce - In January I was a millionaire thanks to BTC, then my wife divorces me and now I have $30,000 AMA

Crossreferencing u/nanoissuperior He wrote earlier today: https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/a3n6uw/in_january_i_was_a_millionaire_thanks_to_nano_now/
Title: In January I was a millionaire thanks to Nano, now I have $25,000 AMA

I was replying to his post, but my reply ended up being a bit too large as a reply and steered off-topic, albeit an interesting one. So I decided to make it its own post, because there may be a good lessons to be learned and hoping some will come forward with good information to be shared.
I hope it can help anyone on this sub avoid the costly mistakes that I made. Here it goes: FLAIR: LEGAL (not in the list)
----
u/nanoissuperior are you who I think you are? I won't give out any further identifying clues, but I happen to know someone in the exact same position that could have written that exact same headline. If you read the first paragraph, you'll know if you know me.
The person I know bought Nano really early, based on a tip from a friend. I got in much later. By the time he told me it had already spiked to the $5 range, when I ended up buying. I then sold in the $20's so it was a good buy nonetheless. We were former colleagues at a large, large software company somewhere in the PNW, I left the company to venture out on my own and try to launch some projects I had in mind and relocated overseas for a few years. We lost contact with each other during my time away, but we connected again during the market runup and started exchanging coin information on a daily basis during the big bull run of late 2017. That was a crazy time.... the market trend was a few degrees short of vertical for pretty much all coins!

Hey, guess what? Now that I think about it, I could have written that same headline myself! In January 2018 I was a Millionaire too! Not with Nano, but thanks to purchasing a good chunk of Bitcoin in 2011 at $1.20 each. I ended up a single digit millionaire with what I had left in Bitcoin around January of 2018.
And, just like you, today, from all that wealth, I have about $30.000 left, with little to show for. Can we call that even? Although my disaster was not caused entirely by market fluctuation; Mine is a more complex story and I am going to mention it, because hopefully, it could serve as a lesson to be learned for any crypto holder out there, so they don't make the make mistake I made: Don't trust anyone. Always be skeptical and watch out for your own interests. Anyhow, here it goes:
After 5 years overseas, I had enough and wanted to come back to the States. My wife stated her preference to stay abroad, but eventually, she conceded albeit reluctantly. We chose a small town in CO to settle, and landed in November of 2017. We had plans to settle down and considered purchasing a home with my/our new fortune, based on the market price during that period. At the same time, I was also hesitant about the inherent tax payments due caused by such large liquidation. I was trying to have to pay taxes as far away as possible. So, I decided to wait till New Year's Eve and started liquidating my crypto on January 1st, 2018 right after midnight. This way, I would have 16 months (till April, 2019) to pay any capital gains taxes, and I was confident at the time that the market would give me that for free, especially at the pace that it was going. I have been an early adopter and have since then acquired the high levels of verification and trading limits per week, with many exchanges, but for a large sum like this, I needed several separate transactions, over the course of several weeks, especially wanting to do it with a US-based exchange that was linked to a US bank accounts, to avoid overseas wire transfers, meaning more fees. (Yes, I did look at all OTC options, but for reasons not relevant to the story, I couldn't make it happen, so I had to use the traditional Exchange channels for asset liquidation).
My wife and I, initially had some fundamental disagreements on the gross amount to be spent and the type of property we should be purchasing. I wanted a smaller place, with a denser, younger community, where there'd be kids our son's age for him to play. She insisted that we should go big; we had been traveling for so many years, and we had not been able to call any of our past residences our home. It was time to settle and nest; She convinced me that we should own a property of our own that we would be proud of living in for years. One that we could own outright and would not easily outgrow. We ended up splurging and purchased in cash two luxury cars for ourselves and set our sights on a large dream house in the city's Golf & Country Club, free and clear, for us and our two kids. I don't even play golf, nor do I even like it, but, if it makes her happy and it is within the safe margins of making it happen, I figured, why not? My concerns were largely financial and the numbers were adding up. It was a bit tight against my personal safe margins, but, at the same time, I was imagining to never have to make, or even have to think about, a car or home mortgage payment ever again! Bitcoin is on a roll and there is no sign of it stopping. Fine. Let's do it, before I change my mind.
Now, I admit I was extremely lucky with choosing the time of when to sell the assets. I had no clue the market would take a dive in February, and so it seemed to many that I had timed the market perfectly, selling most of my coins in the first two weeks of January of 2018. Many called me a genius for selling at the very top, as if I had some sort of wisdom to know when it would drop; the truth is much less flattering; it was nothing but dumb luck, based on me wanting to pay taxes in 2018 and defer to 2019. Awesome, well done! Yeah? well, slow down, son, not so fast.
So, I gather the 7-digit lumpsum in January 2018 and we write a check for the full amount at closing in February on the property of her dreams. A property that could easily be showcased on a luxury Real Estate magazine cover. Also, remember we had just moved back to the United States with just a few suitcases each from overseas. We had no furniture, kitchenware, curtains, TV's, bed sheets, winter clothing and so many other essential things that one usually purchases over time, but which we now had to purchase all at once. Not a problem, Bitcoin had dropped slightly but still well above $15k, I believe, at the time. And, earlier, in January, I had diligently taken this expense into account and effortlessly set aside a small fortune for equipping such a large house with everything we would ever need, brand new. It seemed we were protagonists of one of the Home Makeover Shows.
Finally, after working day and night, prepping the house non-stop for days and when every piece of furniture had finally arrived, been unpacked and carried to its corresponding room, it seemed most of the essentials were in place and the hard work was done. I longed for pouring myself a Scotch and to finally sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I head downstairs to the dedicated walk-in, cigar-humidor / wine / Scotch cellar in the basement and grab the better bottle of Whisky of the few bottles of Scotch that I had bought earlier in the week. On my way up, I remember feeling a sense of calm, combined with a glow of excitement and this undescribable profound inner peace, all at once. This was such a rare, natural, non-drug induced high that I had never experienced. It felt so good! This sense of accomplishment of achieving that one thing I had been chasing and longing for my entire life. I had expected I would be chasing this goal for the next 15-20 years, and yet, here it was. No, where I was, was even better than expected! A place where not even my parents, who still have to make their monthly mortgage payments. I had done it! With a smile from ear to ear, I take a deep breath of relief and while looking around the property, I think to myself: "It's perfect, everything is in place and I can finally call this our home. We are so lucky and we are going to live a great life. A life that few can only dream of. So many concerns will be lifted and become redundant. Everything will be better. I'll start a fire in one of our two fireplaces and I am going to begin enjoying my semi-retired life with the first sip of my drink. That will be the official start of our new life".
I head over to the kitchen to get a glass and some ice cubes, while I struggle to find which one is the freezer among the many drawers in the kitchen. It was then when I notice a handwritten note placed front and center on the kitchen counter. It is from my wife and read: "There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it..... I want to legally divorce [ ...]". It continued saying that she had taken our son, and had unequivocally decided to leave me. She had already filed the paperwork for divorce and that I should expect to be served in the morning.
My bliss had lasted less than 5 minutes and in less than two seconds, it turned dark, somber and I saw it all crumbling down in front of me. Like a long-awaited rocket launch, years in preparation, which then unexpectedly explodes on the launch pad during the countdown. My stomach, heart and everything in my body just sank and melted into one ball of poison in my core. I felt like throwing up. I was completely blindsided; she had played the game all along, not giving me the slightest hint of what was being concocted in the background. She had already engaged with her lawyers weeks beforehand. Her mother was already in town from another state to help out with I don't know what. I had been gaslighted and was threatened by her that I needed to see a psychiatrist due to a change in my temper that I had supposedly developed - my temper was awesome: with BTC at that price? Everything was perfect! But I obeyed and went anyhow (this would later fit her story that she had to leave with the child because she feared for her safety due to my supposed temper for which I was under treatment, therefore, I must have this temper problem, see?). Also, the purchase of the overpriced home also seemed clearly premeditated: Price was the main driver of the decision making; not location, demographics, taxes, etc. It was the wrong neighborhood for us (people much older than us, retired, golfers and no kids the same age as our son to play with). Our house happened to also be the most expensive in the neighborhood. I can see it all so clearly now.
See, your crypto coins on the blockchain, are not within the US court's jurisdiction (or, at least, it's quite debatable - a gray area - ask me for the seed and I can tell you that I may have the seed, or that I may not have the seed, I may have the wrong seed, I may have forgotten it, I may have lost it - you can't prove I did not forget, or lost it, etc). However, once it is in FIAT in a bank, or invested in a property, the courts can rule on the asset(s), freeze, disburse or order a sale of the property, etc. It's done all the time.
Also, the coins were technically mine, and by definition private property (not to be divided during the divorce) as they were acquired before the marriage. I could not prove its origins (I bought many of them via direct messaging members on Bitcointalk.org and mining rather than exchanges, so no records, receipts or nothing to prove otherwise: the big exchanges like BitStamp and Coinbase didn't start operations till 2013, if I m not mistaken. Instead, I would talk to one of the forum members offering coins we'd agree on a price, I'd send a check to wherever the individual seller instructed me to (Russia, Bulgaria, Japan, UK. etc) and the coins would be deposited to whatever address I provided. Yes, it was quite crude at the time.
However, once I converted my coins to cash and used that cash to buy a property for the benefit of the family, it became common property and thus she then had rights to a portion of it when divided between the two parties should a divorce occur - which ended up being almost 3/4 of all assets.
I was robbed in broad daylight. By the one person, I trusted with my life. The one you should trust with your life. Your life partner. And while I was in complete denial, trying to bargain, I waited too long to obtain good legal representation. When I finally ended up getting a lawyer, I was quite distraught and I clearly did not do the proper research and this resulted in a less than stellar performance and detrimental to me at many key steps in the process. I had to switch legal representation right before mediation and I can't blame my new lawyer either, as (s)he did not have the required time to catch up on all the details, (s)he did his/her best, but I was ultimately strongarmed into conceding my soon-to-be-ex-wife to let her return to the house, in exchange to obtain 50% of my son's custody, with serious and strict clauses I had to abide by. So, I had to move out, find a hole in the wall in a student apartment, pay my rent and pay our kids pre-school, while she lives grandiose, without monthly payments in the country club, till the house sells, which will likely be in the spring of next year. Nice!
Due to my delay, legal mishandling and somehow every other element in her favor, she inexplicably ended up with around 3/4 of the worth of all assets, free and clear, no taxes due. Mind you, she has never financially contributed, nor made a single $ during our entire marriage. She has never worked and had $0 in her pocket when we married. She didn't even have a checking account, well in her thirties. She is no dummy; she is street smart, knows how to manipulate people, get her way with flirting and charm, while I am more intellectual and book smart. and She beat me hands-down. She is walking away with a sum of, not quite 7 figures, but close.
With what I am left with from the sale of the house, I am responsible to pay for all the capital gains taxes from the liquidation to the IRS, which are due in April 2019. I don't expect there to be more left over than the estimated $30k mentioned above.
Hate the market all you want, I made peace with the market and am keeping busy at hating my ex for a while for putting me in the same situation. She tripped me 1 yard before the finish line and pushed me in the prickly bushes, to cross it by herself. Go figure. When I am done hating her, I'll get back to rebuilding my life again from scratch. I am not worried, I have done it before. Just pissed, I was so close and that I was so naive to not see it coming.
Sorry, I am not meaning to hijack the thread, just wanted you to know that others may have lost more than just "free" money; money we didn't really have to work for. We were the lucky ones. It is what I keep telling myself to stop me from jumping off a bridge.
PS - Woah: Sorry for the wall of text; I was just going to write the first paragraph and ended up venting about my current situation. I know, I should take this issue to /depressed, /exes or /whereisthenearestbridgeIcanjumpfrom.
Hopefully, this can be a lesson to those holding crypto and some can learn what NOT to do. I learned the hard way and was left with nothing. Don't be a nice guy. Don't trust anyone with your crypto. Anyhow, I am sure either our vigilant subreddit bot, or one of the mods will remove my post for not adhering to rule, and if not, I am sure that you fine people will downvote me to hell. Go ahead. Take away from me the little Karma I left too! Thanks!

I learned many lessons, but here are some key ones [IANAL - any crypto-educated AL opinion appreciated here, thanks] :
- Understand the concept of private property - property you acquire before getting married. INAL - this depends on the state legislation, but it is hard to prove with crypto, especially if you obtained your crypto through foreign exchanges, outside of legal jurisdictions, the petitioner might not understand or willing to invest in obtaining subpoenas and requests to businesses operating overseas, as this may result costly.
- Get a lawyer who understands, or is willing to understand crypto, its benefits of being somewhat unreachable and how that can work for you. Don't let them shortchange you with: "well, let's just convert the rest to cash, because that I understand" type of reasoning.
- If you do go to mediation, the above applies as well. This arbitrator or mediator needs to be one that understands the intrinsic details of crypto - for example, during the ATH, I bought 6 digits worth in $USD of Stellar. I used the very first version of the software, supporting Stellar on my hardware device, and put it all in a cold storage wallet somewhere around January. I routinely checked on my coins on the blockchain and they are there. A few months later, I try to access my account and the device returns a different public address, which contains 0 funds. I am still trying to debug this issue with the manufacturer, but the fact is that I was accused of hiding these coins or negligence and was demanded that I paid half of what was lost. or not lost, out of my pocket for money that I didn't have access either. I tried to explain it in the simplest terms, there are risks involved with using first come software. There is no 1800 number, mo tech support. no CEO, no, you can't call the BBB and complain, etc and no one seemed to be able to understand, nor willing to either. It became a huge roadblock for which I had to concede, not cash, but a concession, I was not wanting to concede. The petitioner leaned on the fact that I was either wilfully cheating or stupid enough to lose the coins and managed to create enough doubt in my character and integrity and there was nothing rational I could explain that she, or anyone else in the room would understand. Perhaps mutually contracting a seasoned crypto expert that can offer a neutral view and give his/her opinion might be worth considering. Andreas, where were you when I needed you? :)
- Other examples were some coins I had bought in 2012 and gifted to some of her family's kids. I was holding these, till they would turn 16 for them to pay themselves their college, or so I told them. These coins were demanded back by the petitioner. Ok, I suggested that I would send them, but with a CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY value with a block height of let's say,10 years from now, out of fear that she would spend the coins and the kids would never know (they are toddlers). No one understood what I was talking about, I was made out the crazy one, I gave up, sent her the coins, unlocked and, just as I expected, within 20 minutes of receiving them, she spent $1200 worth of it (for a flight, I think). If you are the only one speaking your language, no one is willing to listen or make an effort to understand you.
- It appears my coins were private property, which means, that I acquired them before the marriage and in case of divorce, if I have not moved them or used them for the common good of the marriage, then they remain mine. However, I liquidated them and cash ended up in my checking account to be used to buy groceries, cars and eventually a house, and it is then that they became common property. Only once they landed in my checking account on which she is named on. It appears that had I taken proper legal precautions with documentation, or a company/trust, where that money would have gone, instead of my checking accounts, elsewhere, I would have still been able to be the legal proprietor of the resulting cash. I can't quite remember the details, but it as something that was explained to me afterward, and I honestly think I just tuned it out, because it made me sick to know I could have held on to my wealth. Perhaps a lawyer can chime in? Again, much of the lack of information and every misstep taken was because of dealing with people that are accustomed to traditional assets and will not deviate from it. Crypto is different and is treated differently. It is so important to know the strengths and weaknesses when going into litigation about something that people don't understand.
- Some more I can think of, but this post is getting way out of hand in size. Feel free to comment/suggest your own and I'll add more to the comments.

Credits to: u/nanoissuperior Thanks for your post, it inspired me to write this one. Anyone, any karma you feels needs to go his way, for providing the source of inspiration, please give to O-OP.

TL;DR: Wife, having contributed $0 during entire marriage, waited until I cashed out all my crypto at the top of the bull market in January 2018, for a nice seven-figure amount, and then immediately divorced me for the money.

Edit: added TL;DR
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Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining explained - YouTube Bitcoin Mining In 5 Simple Steps Bitcoin Mining Hardware and Cloud Mining Contracts Explained #Bitcoin Mining reality & mining software setup explained Bitcoin Mining Explained - YouTube

Ethereum Mining Hardware Summary. Ethereum mining is done using the Ethash algorithm which can be utilized using powerful GPUs. For Ethereum mining to be profitable, you need to have the right gear at the right price. You can calculate Ehtereum mining profitability with an Ethereum mining calculator. There are two major GPU manufacturers to ... There is Bitcoin mining hardware, which mines bitcoins. There are also Bitcoin hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano X, which secure bitcoins. Quick Tip. Mining is not the fastest way to get bitcoins. Buying bitcoin with a debit card is the fastest way. Check Profitability. You can use our calculator below to check the mining hardware above. Input your expected electricity price and the hash ... Today’s Bitcoin mining hardware has now evolved even further. Whereas in the past, you could mine Bitcoin using a standard desktop computer, today, mining requires specialized software and state-of-the-art hardware that can be energy-intensive. Possessing technical expertise is now required to run or participate in large scale data centers to successfully win blocks. Accurate Bitcoin mining calculator trusted by millions of cryptocurrency miners since May 2013 - developed by an OG Bitcoin miner looking to maximize on mining profits and calculate ROI for new ASIC miners. Updated in 2020, the newest version of the Bitcoin mining calculator makes it simple and easy to quickly calculate mining profitability for your Bitcoin mining hardware. Bitcoin mining, despite its name, could not be further from that scenario. In this article, we’ll briefly go through what mining is and how it works. Bitcoin mining explained simply . The reason why Bitcoin mining is called that is due to a vague similarity to actual mining. The gold and the Bitcoins exist, hidden in the tunnels and on the ...

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Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining explained - YouTube

Start trading Bitcoin and cryptocurrency here: http://bit.ly/2Vptr2X This is a simplified non technical explanation about Bitcoin mining. For more informatio... Some Helpful Links: • Buy Parts for a Mining Rig: http://amzn.to/2jSSsCz • Download NiceHash Miner: https://www.nicehash.com/?p=nhmintro • Choose a Wallet: h... basic mining hardware guide -https://youtu.be/fAsc3134kog #Itechnicalsupport software drive --https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12lKO5gOIgNRd85CHy8viqwG... A short introduction video explaining Bitcoin Mining Hardware, Hosted Bitcoin Mining Hardware and Cloud Mining Contacts (including PACMiC's). We look into the pros and cons for all different types ... Latest Video: http://bit.ly/BW10000 1. Buy Bitcoins: http://bit.ly/BWCoinbase 2. Best Crypto Exchange: http://bit.ly/BWBinance 3. ROBINHOOD http://bit.ly/ROB...

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